'The country's colonial legacy,' Part II:
A friend of mine, who grew up in a former French colony that's still part of the French neocolonial system, told me that France's colonial past has everything to do with today's problems, agreeing it's absurd to think that an Algerian or Moroccan is somehow 'French.' But he was adamant that the same racist mentality that justified colonialism is still alive in France and the real cause of current woes. Here are a few of his thoughts:
-- "The French brought in these people to perform menial jobs the French didn't want to do. The immigrants were happy and content after escaping their old poverty. But the French never had a plan for the second and third generations of these immigrants. They never thought it out. They just assumed the children of immigrants would keep doing the same jobs. They look down on them." ... He added these second and third generation offspring have no concept what their parents or grandparents escaped -- and only measure their lives by what they have and what is offered in the rest of France.
-- "The mullahs know this and are filling the voids."
-- My friend, who is now a Canadian citizen and considers himself French-Canadian, said he could never have risen as far in France as he has in Canada. ... "I'm so glad I didn't settle in France." ... He said that Canadian and American immigration policies, while flawed, are far superior to those in France and Europe. "In France, you arrive and you are a citizen. In Canada, you arrive and you have to ask to become a citizen. In Canada, you don't become a citizen until you want to." ...
File under: For what it's worth ... I found the conversation fascinating.Update
-- More on the subject from CSM
'What is it?':
When the haute bourgeoisie, activists and a company with a new product tell us something is good, you immediately have to wonder. Yet my first impression, based on the photos, is that the sidewalks
look pretty cool. Hub Blog shall inspect them soon and afterward render a final Sidewalk Superintendent verdict. ...
'The country's colonial legacy':
Here's a real good look
at the source of France's current woes: its colonial past and its definition of being French. ... The differences between American immigrants and French immigrants aren't dealt with in depth. But it's worth a quick analysis. Americans have largely seen immigrants as immigrants who later become Americans. But France has officially treated its immigrants from its former colonies as somehow already being French. It's an important distinction. Both visions have their problems. But for the French, the assumption that a people it once militarily conquered -- no matter how different their cultures, religions or views on governing -- somehow became 'French' is a form of idealistic arrogance and denial. It would be akin to America, after conquering Germany and Japan in World War II, having declared all Germans and Japanese to be Americans and waving them into the U.S. as full citizens. ... With its immigration policies, France is still clinging to the flaws at the heart of its past colonialism and the neo-colonial system that still exists. ... FYI: I still think we have a lot of positive lessons to learn from the French about multiethinic societies. Immigration just isn't one of them.
'It still takes money to operate':
David Warsh over at EconomicPrincipals.com
is going to experiment with paid email subscriptions, with weekly free posts put up on a delayed basis. Though I'd love to keep reading his items on a free and timely manner, here's hoping it works out. The more people experiment with online content, the sooner we'll all find a business model that works. ... FYI: Selling a blog site to a VC-backed company for silly bubble-like prices doesn't count as a long-term business model.
'What Menino said':
From Brighton Reader:
"What Menino said
" 'The only one who is safe is me,' declared Menino, who said he will request letters of resignation from every department head.
What the Mayor really meant:
" 'I already know whose resignation I am going to accept, sign here.'
"Translation from Mumbles to English courtesy of Brighton Reader."
'Jurkowitz Swings and Misses':
Reader No. 1 on the totally predictable Mark Jurkowitz piece
"Jurkowitz Swings and Misses:
"Insofar as his Theo summary added nothing we didn't already know, his piece is barely worth blogging on. What happened to the part of the article that would track the reaction of the blogosphere
? It's barely part of the story (no particular bloggers named, I note) and completely subsumed by tedious scorecarding of the local media and goo-goo suggestions about the Globe's ownership disclosure.
"But hopefully, you Herald folk take the 'paper with a chip on its shoulder' as a compliment. (It really is.)"Hub Blog's reaction
-- I agree with Reader No. 1 and Adam
: Nothing new in the story, unless you consider 'new' to be a slight amplification on previously indicated biases
to come. ... If you take out the grades he gave the Globe and Herald, you might probably conclude the Herald was an equal and/or worse bad-boy in this 'fiasco.' But, like I said, it was predictable. It was only marginally better than the Globe ombudsman's
lame 'self-parody' attempt at being objective. ... FYI: Though Mark didn't disclose his ex-Globie status in the article despite thinking that a lack of disclosure attribution was somehow at the heart of the Globe's Theogate 'perception' debacle, I'd just like to state that I'm a Herald business reporter.
'I have a confession to make':
I think we have a winner for Blogger of the Day. Missouri radio jock James Keown, 31, will be arraigned later this week in court for allegedly murdering his wife
in Waltham by slipping antifreeze into her Gatorade. But forget that. He has a blog
with a lot of riveting stuff. "I have a confession to make," he writes, as my heart started pounding. "Today it was sunny and 74 degrees - and I skipped out of work during the middle of the day." Did I tell you it was riveting? . ... The Jefferson City News Tribune
reports he liked to talk on-air about, er, "killings and court cases."
'Theo's next assignment is so obvious':
OK, it's back (temporarily, I hope) to Theogate. Reader No. 1 on yesterday's post below:
"Agree 100% with Dan Kennedy, and you, on the Chacon column
"1. He probably would have been better served by writing the column he'd intended pre-Theo, then taking more time to look at the various issues posed by the past week's fallout.
"2. Yesterday's column inadvertently revealed a problem that newspaper people have with the current media environment: they're so busy writing about their own paper that they forget about the big world out there. You cannot understand the whole Globe-Red Sox story without reading the Herald (sports, business AND regular news on ticket price increases - all not evident from the column) or watching NESN - please note branding
on the NESN Red Sox pregame show which runs every day for 6 months and regularly features Globe writers:
"3. 'My attempts to contact Red Sox officials were unsuccessful.'
"... Theo's next assignment is so obvious I'm startled that no one has suggested it yet. What greater challenge, and accomplishment, than for him to take over the Chicago Cubs? He could trade Nomar for Orlando Cabrera again and go down in baseball history for winning THAT World Series.... "
'It's fun to set cars on fire':
Amid my recent Theogate obsession, it seems much of France caught fire.
... Of course you can't shake the smug They Deserve It impulse when it's France's turn to finally deal with its own ills. But resist the impulse one must, because the French have major ethnic problems and their handling of this tragedy is important for Europe and the United States' long-term security. ... Update
-- Here are some particularly good blog posts on the subject (Part 1
and Part 2
), via Instapundit
. ... And ever conscious of France's image abroad, Le Monde
is running a roundup of international headlines
about the rioting.'Don't you dare bring up the election ...':
Another casualty of my Theogate obsession has been attention (or lack thereof) paid to the city elections. I can't quite get into them this year, knowing the probable outcome of the mayoral race. I also couldn't get into them in years past for the same reason. But Adam
is doing a great job (here
, for starters) monitoring the mayoral and council campaigns. ... I'm already looking forward to 2009, when, it's hoped, there might actually be true competitiion. ... Quickie ill-informed prediction: the mayoral race will be a little closer than expected. There seems to be a mood out there that the mayor, while still liked, is approaching a Term Too Far.
'Lucchino's camp responded': Dan Kennedy
beat me to the glaring two-word omission in Richard Chacón's ombudsman column today
: 'Dan Shaughnessey.' No mention whatsoever of a guy who wrote a highly controversial column
a week ago and then followed it up with a second column
in which he openly admits: "In Sunday's column, I offered the version held by Lucchino's camp (three sources)... The Epstein camp had its version out there all summer. Lucchino's camp responded Sunday." Here you have a guy openly admitting he's the mouthpiece for the Lucchino camp -- and it's not addressed in Chacón's column? ...
Ah, but what about the other story -- the one in which the Globe got the Theo-is-signing
flat-out wrong? Chacón tends to concentrate on attributions. But the other questions are: How did it get the story wrong? And just who are those 'multiple major league sources'? Do they include 'Red Sox' sources? Why not just call them 'former Capital Hill staffers'? (Just joking.) ...
This all leads to my own thumb-sucking theory about what could have happened -- and it has to do with 'access' that comes with both a partnership and being the largest paper in town:
A.) The Sox-Globe relationship/partnership provides special access.
B.) The Globe is aware of this special access and takes advantage of it for competitive reasons. There's nothing wrong with this per se. The Herald, where I work, would do it. I would do it. You would do it. BUT ...
C.) The Globe is and should be on guard about this access and its potential to be abused and manipulated. Therefore reporters and editors (though not necessarily curly-haired columnists) truly do go out of their way to try to be fair and balanced. They don't want to get a story wrong.
But something happened last week. I suspect, in the case of the Theo-signing story, that C.) broke down. It happens. Their overly-relied-upon sources were just wrong. There's no way, in my mind, that the reporters knowingly printed something they knew or suspected to be inaccurate. But it does all point to an over reliance on sources that, in my opinion, comes with access provided by a partnership and being the largest paper in town. At the very least there was some sort of major 'access' malfunction. Ask Judy Miller and the Times. ...
Dan Shaughnessey is a completely different story. He shilled. He's all but admitted it. He wasn't just a messenger. He was practically a press secretary for the Lucchino camp. Theo, knowing how spin works over at Yawkey Way under Lucchino, got the message -- and how. ...
One forgotten point about points A.), B.) and C.): Larry and Charlie et gang are well aware of them and they're not dummies. They know about C.) and fiddle around with it to their spin advantage. ...
One other point: everyone please reread Tony's original column
. He didn't say the Globe was smearing Theo. He said straight out it was the Sox who were smearing Theo. The reference to the Globe was about the compromised murkiness of the press in general and the Globe in particular when covering such stories (see my own points A. B. and C. above). Tony's column has held up remarkably well, in my opinion, considering all the subsequent spin and counter-spin and what we now know about Theo's departure. ...
FYI: I am a Herald business reporter who doesn't have a source horse in this race. So dismiss my thumb-sucking theory if you want and perhaps should. But I think what I've written is at least as plausible as what Chacón wrote (and/or didn't write) and probably more plausible because it doesn't deal with 'conspiracies' but rather the inherent and every-day journalistic vortex and dangers of 'access.'Update
has a story on how other local deal makers see Theogate and the obvious leak campaign that blew up in the Sox' face. Hey, their theories are as good as any.
'The chance that Theo would trash Larry':
Reading Brett's articles (here
), I have this sinking feeling we could end up without both Theo and John while stuck with Larry through 2011. We're talking about full worst-case scenario here if Henry doesn't get his act together soon. ... Bob
is still asking 'why' after yesterday's Theo press conference, even though you know that he knows why. Tony
also asks 'why' but then answers the question: "Ultimately, when all the nonsense is chopped away from an internal issue that exploded into a newspaper war, the bottom line is that Theo Epstein left the Red Sox because he felt like he could not trust Larry Lucchino, no matter what anybody else said, wrote or believed. Along the way, we learned that most of the media in Boston does not trust Lucchino, either, a reality that should prompt the highest levels of Sox ownership and management to do some serious soul-searching."Mike
takes the old tried-and-true Kremlin-Wall-reading approach, i.e. who's there and not there, etc. And Larry wasn't there yesterday. Yes, it's come to this. ...
Reader No. 1 ain't surprised at all by yesterday's dog-and-pony press conference:
"After the Shaughnessy-Schilling appearances on WEEI yesterday morning (check 'em out while you can
), yesterday's press conference was a huge if inevitable letdown. Theo's farewell faceoff with the vaunted Boston media was a virtual replay of his last game as Red Sox GM -- particularly, the team's futility with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and down one run in ALDS Game 3. Instead of Varitek popping up, we got 'Do you have a good relationship with Larry?' Instead of Graffanino fouling off high pitches, we got Bob Ryan asking 'Theo, so far we've got: it wasn't a power struggle, it wasn't personal privacy, it wasn't a feeling of satisfaction (after) winning the World Series, it wasn't? what was it?'
"As she does so well, Jackie MacMullan
called it before the press conference: 'Theo will speak today at a news conference and no doubt will take the high road, as he always has.' Face it: the chance that Theo would trash Larry on local TV and national sports press was about the same as Kelly Shoppach's 2005 Red Sox batting average.
-- Hub Blog officially declares that this phase of the Theo story has run its course. It's a good thing. I've run out of popcorn. Mark, who was quick last week to pronounce
Tony's original column as seeming 'pretty thin,' will be sweeping up the stands
next week and, I assume, addressing how Peter Lucas botched the mayoral-election coverage more than two decades ago. He adds: "The reaction of the blogosphere is part of the story I will ultimately be writing." Can't wait!Update II
-- OK, now
this phase of the Theo story is done. (Can't end it without Bill Simmons' thoughts. Don't know how I missed it. Via Dan Kennedy
.)We love wolves:
As we all know, we all love the thought of blood-thirsty wolves
returning to New England. The French love them too
. ...Unpleasant election year news, Part II:
Does this shootings story
sound familiar? Yes it does.
... And I still don't think
it matters at this late-stage in the campaign.
'Boston’s taken a dramatic hit':
Lots of Theo stories, but the most ominous development could be players who now might be reluctant
to play in Boston. Not good. Not good at all. ... Tony
is urging John Henry to take charge and march the team onward. ... Jackie
writes about shared responsibility for successes and failures -- and says Dan is being 'unfairly targeted' because he was only the 'messenger.' Sorry, but Dan wasn't the messenger. Larry was the messenger. Dan merely allowed himself to be used as a message platform. ...
... Don't like the circumstances of Theo's departure. But after today's 1 p.m. briefing, he should just go. Disappear. Head to L.A. or Europe or wherever. This team needs to get its act together. ...
'Life goes on':
Just heard Tito say on Dale and Holley
that life goes on -- and he's right. Curious to see what happens in coming weeks and months. We'll soon learn how good Larry is as a GM, for that's exactly what he is now. ... Will Theo change his mind? Will he regret his decision? Who knows. But anyone who's had a micro-managing boss -- and a micro-managing boss who tries to publicly humiliate an employee -- knows it's one of life's worst experiences. So I'd be shocked if Theo changes his mind. ...Update
-- The Paper of Record: 'The Herald said ...'
Sorry. Couldn't resist. ... Mike
has more (via Dan
). ... Can't wait to see tomorrow's papers. My popcorn is running low. Garcon!
'The Halloween Eve Massacre,' Part II:
Considering Tony got it largely right last week
(though some are still giving him only grudging respect), let's go right to Tony this morning.
is doing a highly admirable job as pooper scooper, providing a decidely different view of Lucchino than Dan's pro-Larry and know-your-place-Theo column
on Sunday. Speaking of Dan, he's pulling a Judy Miller with a column this morning
that raises more questions than it answers. He also: A.) admits who his sources largely were for the Sunday column (Lucchinoites) and B.) appears to hint at the probable 'nationally known Lucchino-hating Epstein source' he referred to on Sunday. ... Do I think Dan was a conscious player in the 'campaign' against Theo? Perhaps not. More like a Judy Miller who had her sources and assumed they were right because she agreed with them. ... FYI: I'm a non-cabal Herald business reporter who is thoroughly enjoying this one from the gallery seats. ... P.S. I didn't mention I disagreed with Reader No. 1's argument that Dan's Sunday column was 'mostly balanced.' I think it was 'mostly unbalanced.' It was highly insulting to Theo -- and Theo drew certain conclusions about what a long three years it would be if he signed the contract. ...Dan Kennedy
have more on the Theo drama. ... Bruce
is all over it and has his winners and losers.
-- Reader No. 1:
"Now that the Sox have really Stepped In It, will we all go back to the Gloves Off Accusatory Finger-Pointing Style of pre-2004? Will Theo's departure mean more prominent coverage on stories like the departures of medical and training staff over the past 2 years?
"The Sox have become a Cool Place to Work and Hang Out under new ownership. Generally it's a bad thing when talented people leave work at Cool Places, from players to Assistant GMs. That may be the worst long-term ramification of this mess - let's hope not!" ...
'The Halloween Eve Massacre':
Reader No. 1 on the Theo drama:
"Will we look back and call it 'The Halloween Eve Massacre'? 'Trick, Not Treat?' How ironic that 12 months and 4 days after the greatest day in Boston sports history, the Red Sox coach turns into a pumpkin on October 31st... hope I'm not waxing too Shaughnessy-esqe.
"Extreme reactions are more characteristic of our sports media than our sports fans. And we don't know all the facts on Theo's departure yet. But it's hard to argue with Glenn Ordway when he said at the end of tonight's Big Show that Larry Lucchino and Dan Shaughnessy are in for a bumpy ride... particularly when Theo's deputy was allowed to leave for Arizona on Friday!
"Before we round up the usual suspects, a few observations:
"1. Consequences aside, Shaughnessy's now infamous Sunday column
had a good deal to recommend it, particularly a mostly believable, mostly balanced view of the evolving/disintegrating relationship between the owners and GM. But Dan would have done us all well to note his version of the infamous Larry Bigbie trade was importantly different from our well-documented understanding
of how events unfurled during the particularly tumultous July trade deadline. Especially notable because no one likes falling on anyone's sword. Ask Judith Miller.
"2. Headline: 'Upstart Herald Kicks Globe's Ass.' Michael Silverman
and Tony Massarotti
... well, what can one say other than, Herald Management, don't make that Theo mistake, sign them up to longterm contracts before it is too late! And how would you feel if you were Gordon Edes and Chris Snow
today? ... two very solid and conscientious writers who one might say were 'misinformed.'
"3. Let's be fair and balanced: Theo had an incredible 2003 and 2004, not so good 2005. Derek Lowe notwithstanding, it's never good to have a bum season in your free agency year. And there is a laundry list of challenges this offseason - Manny, Damon, Wells, and rebuilding the supporting cast - on top of a shaky finish. So maybe Theo is making a very wise move. He's a rational young man, rational enough to know that his rationality has limited influence over high-paid professional athletes, compared to the rationality of said high-paid professional athlete's agents and union reps. Smart guys know when to get out.
"This seems like a rough weekend for rationality. Moneyball threatened to bring a whole new rational era to America's pastime. Can't have that! And in the course of a weekend, Billy Beane's two best known disciples
leave two of the most famous franchises in baseball under clouds. The baseball oldtimers and most sportswriters will chuckle quietly. What do those rotisserie stat-heads know about chemistry, emotion, the 'intangibles' you can't measure? Good question. Ask Dan Shaughnessy - he's an expert.
"Today Theo feels like taking a year off. But eventually, he'll get on that plane to Los Angeles and settle in for a stretch with the Dodgers. Yes, I know everyone thinks this is what he'll do - sometimes everyone is right. And life will go on.
"Theo - thanks for the memories (and for helping to build a new Red Sox foundation). Here's looking at you, kid."Hub Blog's view
-- Again, I don't know a thing about what's going on other than what I read in the papers. Though a Herald business reporter, I'm in the peanut gallery enjoying the show with everyone else. That said, I'll venture to say I don't think there's a Globe-Sox conspiracy per se. But I do think there was a 'campaign' and things were ugly. Events proved that out -- and one side wrote about it and the other didn't. The question is: Why? I think it has to do with a perhaps unwitting competitive desire to milk access that naturally comes with a corporate partnership. But it now looks like that two-way access was abused by one Sox management type and just blew up in the Globe's face -- and I have a gut feeling there are a lot of people over on Morrissey Boulevard who are really pissed off tonight at Larry Lucchino. ... And Tony was absolutely right: This is why you want a two-newspper town. Period.
'In a stunning development ...':
is actually not so stunning if you read between the lines over the past week or so. Something indeed ugly
was brewing over at Yawkey Way and people like Tony
sensed it. Michael Silverman
on the power struggle within the organization and You Know Who's
Sunday column that had a distinct pro-Lucchino and know-your-place-Theo slant to it:
"Epstein had done some agonizing soul-searching the past few days, torn between staying at the job he had always coveted since his childhood days in Brookline and leaving because of intra-organizational politics and power struggles that he ultimately decided he could not live with any longer.
"On Sunday, he began having serious misgivings about staying on. A leading contributing factor, according to sources close to the situation, was a column in Sunday’s Boston Globe in which too much inside information about the relationship between Epstein and his mentor, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, was revealed -- in a manner slanted too much in Lucchino’s favor.
"Epstein, according to these sources, had several reasons to believe Lucchino was a primary source behind the column and came to the realization that if this information were leaked hours before Epstein was going to agree to a new long-term deal, it signaled excessive bad faith between him and Lucchino."
Notice in the Globe's account Theo's comment: "In my time as general manager, I gave my entire heart and soul to the organization. During the process leading up to today’s decision, I came to the conclusion that I can no longer do so."
Hmmm. The 'process' -- not to be confused with 'campaign,' I suppose. ... Hmmm II: Notice also how the Globe story above brings up the Dan column without any context. It's just plopped into the story. .... Hmmm III: Reader No. 1 points out that Dan's pro-Larry version of the infamous Colorado-Boston trade is quite different from what Peter Gammons reported
last August (scroll down). ...
FYI: Reader No. 1 and I have had a jolly good time trying to figure out who's the 'nationally known Lucchino-hating Epstein source' Dan not-so-subtly outed yesterday, even giving an approximate time and place where the source was on a given day. We narrowed it down to two names. I'm sure Larry has narrowed it down to one. I also assume Dan would rather go to jail for 85 days rather than reveal a source outright, though specifically hinting at a source's name in public seems to be OK with him. ... FYI II: I am a non-cabal Herald business reporter. I don't know anything about the subject beyond what I read in the newspapers -- mostly by reading between the murky lines these days. And pass the popcorn. This drama is only beginning. ...
P.S. -- So now we'll finally find out who the real genius was behind 2004 -- Larry or Theo. Or could it be -- similar to Belichick and Charlie and Romeo -- that it was a combination of a number of very talented people?
It's amateur hour
over at Boston.com. Nothing against Boston.com. But M*A*S*H and Good Morning, Vietnam as the greatest war movies ever made? Who let the Vietnam peacenicks into the discussion? ... The greatest-war-movies issue was thoroughly debated and settled last winter on Hub Blog, here
. Let's not defile the subject matter by now bringing up Kelly's Heros and, God help us, Forrest Gump. If Armchair Gen. Savin Hill hears about that one ...
'A lot of strangeness around this issue':
The anti-Halloween movement
now involves both conservative Christians (and Muslims) and secular church-state separatists. Near perfection when it comes to the argument that extremists usually end up being indistinguishable. ... Notice the pseudo-sophisticated issues the article attempts to raise -- how the anti-Halloween debate "gets to the heart of minority rights" or conversely how it "strips kids of a community-sanctioned way to tap into the creative, even spiritual, aspect of the unseen." Jeez. And all this time I thought Halloween was the ultimate kid holiday: Dressing up as monsters, hauling in bags of candy, getting to throw rotten eggs at grown-ups' homes and horse-trading the loot the next day during school recess. ...
There was a dark side to Halloween: The loss of self-esteem when you realized you poorly canvassed the neighborhood and missed out on the carmalized popcorn balls at a neighbor's home. I should have gone there! I'm such a loser!
... And it would gnaw at you for days after.Update
(sub. req.) has more on how the 'PC God steals Halloween.' And don't forget the PC anti-Gods.
'Where's the campaign?':
After trashing Theo and praising Larry, You Know Who
writes: "It was charged last week that Sox management conducted a 'smear campaign' against Epstein. How? Where's the campaign?" ... I assume Dan wrote the column without the slightest clue or care about what Tony
was saying -- that Theo was being trashed (or 'smeared') and there's a certain tendancy for a certain media outlet to take the side of management. ... The ball's in your court, Mark
. Chalk it up to 'coincidence' if you want, but you gotta admit the column is a doozy. ... FYI: Love You Know Who's burning of the 'nationally known Lucchino-hating Epstein source.' I assume he'd rather go to jail for 85 days than name a source outright, though I think Larry appreciates the obvious tip. ... FYI II: I'm a non-cabal Herald reporter.
Notorious 'footlicker' strikes again:
Posted as a public-service reminder that there are very strange
(and dangerous) people out there. ...'Sympathetic echo of Kevin Costner in 'The Untouchables'': Huh?
Of all the things I've read about Patrick Fitzgerald and his investigation, a comparison to Kevin Costner in The Untouchables has to be the most lame. ... Notice also the comparison to the Pentagon Papers. A case of reliving past glories? ...
Quickie Scooter Indicted Thoughts: Glad to see Fitzgerald is sticking close to the original alleged crime and any attempt to obstruct the investigation into that specific matter. My fear -- proven unfounded, at least for now -- was that he was pulling a Ken Starr and drifting from, metaphorically speaking, an investigation of a sleazy backwater real estate deal toward perjury charges surrounding a blowjob. ... FYI: I still question if any espionage or disclosure laws were broken. Clearly it's a close call. Fitzgerald may yet press ahead on that front, but the fact he hasn't (and his use of the strange baseball brush-back metaphor) indicates to me he's unsure whether he can prove that case.
P.S. -- As liberals try to turn the Plame probe into full-scale debate about the rationales for the Iraq war, conservatives might want to read, of all books, Seymour Hersh's "Chain of Command."
Why should they read such an anti-administration diatribe? Because it does paradoxically show that the desperate attempt to prove there were WMD in Iraq was partly tied to a near fanatical belief that there really were WMD in Iraq. Sure there were lies. Lots and lots of them. But it's the administration's arrogance and contempt toward others who disagreed with them that came through loud and clear in Hersh's book. Often lies are the consequence of beliefs. This is perhaps why it's so complicated to sort out the truth about the pre-war WMD debate. Where did the beliefs end and the lies begin? At what early or late point did self-delusion take over? Did they believe smearing and denouncing and dismissing critics was a means to a justified end? Beware of those who make such rationalizations. It's the mark of true fanatics. ...So how does reading Seymour Hersh help those who adamently supported the war? He paints a very ugly (and accurate, in my opinion) picture of the Bush administration, but at least Hersh acknowledgedges there was a belief system at work. That's not a great argument considering the belief system turned out to be wrong. But it's probably closer to the truth than stating they flat-out lied without motive.
'Celebration of Fall':
They're cancelling Halloween celebrations at a Newton school (stories here
) due to a few grinches saying festivities offended their religious beliefs. To make matters worse: They're thinking of replacing events with a 'Celebration of Fall.' Could Newton officials find a worse way to torture kids? Replacing Frankenstein masks and candy corn with Kumbayah sing-alongs and corn bread? ... Wait a second. Kumbaya
has religious conotations. Strike that. OK, kids might be able to dress as characters from 'literary' books. Here's hoping one of the clever rascals comes dressed as the Headless Horseman.Update
-- From Reader AS: "Favorite literary characters? The possibilities are endless. Hunchback of Notre Dame, Man in the Iron Mask, Queequeg, Salem 'witches' with nooses around their necks, Dracula and do not forget Frankenstein." ... Hmmm. Throw in 'favorite' pirates and soldiers etc. and the adult-wrecked day may yet be salvaged for kids. Are there any Newton parents reading this? You know what to do.'Guys. We've gotta let it go':
One last thing on the White Sox (promise): Here's a good piece
on the White Sox-Cubs rivalry in Chicago, written before the playoffs started. ...
'Just DC trivia':
Reader AM writes in about my 'I don't get it' post below on the Plame affair:
"The Watergate model of investigating the cover-up is rarely applicable because Watergate was a very unusual case. What was being concealed was the precise motivation for the initial incident, and it was a doozy: The President of the United States, really, sincerely believed that the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association (as Larry O'Brien had become) was a Cuban agent. No possibility of 'coming clean' on that one! (It's worth remembering that 'the character issue' originally referred to sanity, not morality.)
"The motivation in the Plame case, by contrast, is just DC trivia -- did anyone outside the Beltway care whether Wilson's wife was with the CIA, or understand why that would matter?
"If no one is indicted, we''ll be left with the question of why (since bad journalism is not a crime, technically) Judith Miller went to jail, since (a) there was no crime, (b) she didn't do anything, and (c) she didn't know anything."I don't get it ... Part IV:
OK, I'm now back to square one
: I don't get the Judy Miller/Plame saga. Michael Barone
makes a very persuasive case that no laws were originally broken, perhaps explaining why investigators are interviewing Plame-Wilson neighbors to see if they knew she was a CIA operative (Barone via Instapundit). So what is Patrick Fitzgerald
up to? Who knows. I don't get it. ... I do
get that partisan battle lines are forming, based on the Sean Hannity Test
, i.e. follow what the know-it-all Sean is saying and you get an idea of where the hack partisan fault lines will develop. Sean was in top hack form last night, fulminating about the special-presecutor probe without a hint of shame or sense of irony considering the Ken Starr investigation. So I assume the opposite holds true on the hack partisan left. ... There should be specific instructions to all special prosecutors: Investigate the original alleged crime only -- and don't get angered and suckered into other probes by inevitable lies along the way. The latter is a curse to prosecutors in these types of cases. The Watergate 'cover-up' template doesn't apply to every probe.
'Goaded and spurred and driven':
Speaking of hack partisanship, I recently ran across a Winston Churchill quote about partisanship in general and partisanship in particular during the Irish Home Rule debate in Britain in early 1914, as a separate and far more consequential matter was quietly coming to a head: World War I. Churchill's words are still applicable today:
"It is greatly to be hoped that British political leaders will never again allow themselves to be goaded and spurred and driven by each other or by their followers into excesses of partisanship which on both sides disgraced the year 1914 ... The vehemence with which great masses of men yield themselves to partisanship and follow the struggle as if it were a prize fight, their ardent enthusiasm, their glistening eyes, their swift anger, their distrust and contempt if they think they are to be baulked of their prey; the sense of wrongs mutually interchanged, the extortion and enforcement of pledges, the infectious loyalties, the praise that waits on violence; the chilling disdain, the honest disappointment, the cries of 'treachery' ..."
You get the idea. If indictments are handed down in the Plame case ...
'Make you feel sick to your stomach':
All is well for the new 2005 World Series Champs
-- the Chicago White Sox. But all is not well for the 2004 World Series Champs Red Sox. Tony
is absolutely ripping into Larry Lucchino, the 'smear tactics' against Theo and the entire Red Sox power structure (including the Globe). Let's hope it's all contract posturing. But something momentous seems to be brewing over at Yawkey Way. I can't quite get a handle on it. But it looks ugly. ...
... Well, at least a former resident of Chicago (i.e. yours truly) can savor the ChiSox win as the Red Sox seem to be resorting back to their Yawkey-Harrington back-office ways. Bob
has it exactly right: "The team (Chicago) has just basically been blah for the past 85 or so years." Tell me about it. When I was in Chicago, I tried hard to fall in love with the White Sox, holding true to my AL roots and resisting the cutesy-wootsy lure of the lovable-loser Cubs. But the Sox were an incredibly frustrating team to follow, usually starting out strong and then collapsing by the All-Star break, or soon thereafter. I ended up only liking them, not loving them. Now I'm happy for them, though not ecstatic. ... My WMD Spies in Chicago say the town isn't rocking over the ChiSox. Here's a good Sun-Times
explanation: "With hard-held allegiances split between the Sox and Cubs, the World Series victory was not quite the same kind of local lovefest fostered by the Michael Jordan-led Bulls or the 1985 Bears." ... The Red Sox may be in the process of burning bridges with Theo. But I think ChiSox fans are going to be in love with Ken Williams
for quite some time. ... For a balanced perspective on the Theo talks, don't forget to check in with Bruce
over coming days.
'Unpleasant election-year news':
Think the reluctance to release crime stats a few weeks before an election has something to do with election-year politics? Nah.
No way. ... Simply ask: Who stands to win or lose with these facts out? I may be cynical, but I have little doubt if the numbers had pointed in another direction, we would have learned about them a long time ago via megaphones loudly blaring the news from campaign trucks. ... BTW: This is more a City Hall information issue, less a cop information issue. ... BTW II: I doubt the new numbers will have much impact on the campaign. Most people already have a sense that certain crimes and shootings are up. They're worried, but not overly so.'The wheels are back in motion':
I'm so weary of defending a lock-in future Hall of Famer that I can no longer muster the strength to argue for Manny staying.
... The Sox could lose Damon this year. Is it really wise for ownership to be flirting with Manny's latest flakey request to be traded? ... I guess I just mustered some strength. But I'm still tired.
FYI to readers: The www.hubblog.com connection to Hub Blog has been temporarily disrupted. The site can still be accessed through blogspot at www.hubblog.blogspot.com. Hope to have the former back up and running later.
'Send in the Clones':
Hey, former Boston city councilor and Herald op-ed writer Tom Keane has a new blog
. It's good. Sample: "South Korean scientists announced today that they have succeeded in cloning 11 human beings, all of whom spent the last year as candidates for the Boston city council."'The Chomsky brand':
Reader No. 1 sends in this article
about anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist Noam Chomsky's business dealings, trusts, speaking fees, stock investments etc., with the comment, "Hardly surprising but nonetheless amusing report on one of our region's best known global exports."
'Thank God for intransigence, pettiness and parochialism':
Brighton Reader is back from a trip to Montreal, where he discovered a Ghost of Boondoggles Past:
"The Montreal Olympic Stadium
will finally be paid off next year, using the revenues of a tobacco tax -- after thirty years. That does not include the roof, which still does not work and is paid for separately from the province's budget. Quebec province wants to give the mess to the city of Montreal, which is saying, merci, but non, you can keep it.
"For decades, Boston agonized over the inability of local leadership to agree on a replacement for Boston Garden. Thank God for intransigence, pettiness and parochialism, the people of Boston and Massachusetts saved millions. Ultimately the private sector came up with most of the money."
Boston pols truly have an admirable aversion to publicly financed stadiums. Now if we can only get them to stop embarking on huge road projects with payments stretching into infinity. 'Whatever their flaws, they reflect a social pact':
flags a pompous NYT article about rebuilding New Orleans. ... God save us from elitist architects and architectual critics. They try so hard to be accepted as artistic intellectuals. ...
'Watching Rudy on DVD'
: Reader No. 1 sends along shocking breaking news
on the Theo negotiations. ... How about them Sox? The ChiSox
, that is. ... Gotta be happy for them. Just making it to the World Series is a shocker for Chicago. Next year: The Cubs?
Battle of the ex-Pats coaches:
Notre Dame vs. USC, what a game.
... Charlie Weis can walk away with his head held high. But Pete Carroll's head is rightly higher. Bottom line: The rivalry is back. ...'Miss Run Amok':
Because I foolishly allowed myself to write about the Judy Miller saga, Hub Blog feels compelled to address the BIG ARTICLE
in the NYT today about the affair. I'll leave it to Jay Rosen
to summarize: "Like I said, it became Judy Miller’s newspaper." ... Because I also don't believe that length = thoroughness when it comes to journalists covering journalists, below are excerpts from the eight-part cyber article, so you don't have to wade through the entire thing:
-- "Interviews show that the paper's leaders, in taking what they considered to be a principled stand, ultimately left the major decisions in the case up to Ms. Miller, an intrepid reporter whom editors found hard to control."
-- "Operated with a degree of autonomy rare at The Times."
-- "Miss Run Amok."
-- "Ms. Miller denied it." (Possibly the most revealing and important line in the article.)
-- "The default position in a case like that is you support the reporter."
-- "Both said they viewed the case as a matter of principle, which made the particulars less important."
-- "Mr. Keller said the case was not ideal: 'I wish it had been a clear-cut whistle-blower case. I wish it had been a reporter who came with less public baggage.'"
-- "Times lawyers warned company executives that they would have trouble persuading a judge to excuse Ms. Miller from testifying."
-- "Ms. Miller recalled Mr. Bennett saying while he signed on to her case: 'I don't want to represent a principle. I want to represent Judy Miller.'"
-- "'She has the keys to release herself,' the judge said. 'She has a waiver she chooses not to recognize.'"
-- "Even after reporters learned it from outside sources, The Times did not publish Mr. Libby's name, though other news organizations already had."
-- "'It was just too awkward,' Mr. Keller said, 'to have me coming from meetings where they were discussing the company's public posture, then overseeing stories that were trying to deal with the company's public posture.'"
-- "Some reporters said editors seemed reluctant to publish articles about other aspects of the case as well, like how it was being investigated by Mr. Fitzgerald."
-- "Ms. Miller said the publisher's support was invaluable. 'He galvanized the editors, the senior editorial staff,' she said. 'He metaphorically and literally put his arm around me.'"
-- "Every day (in jail), she checked outdated copies of The Times for a news article about her case. Most days she was disappointed."
-- "She said she began thinking about whether she should reach out to Mr. Libby for 'a personal, voluntary waiver.'"
-- "'The longer I was there, the more chance I had to think about it,' Ms. Miller said."
-- "Mr. Freeman, The Times's company lawyer, and Mr. Abrams worried that if Ms. Miller sought and received permission to testify and was released from jail, people would say that she and the newspaper had simply caved in."
-- "Mr. Freeman advised Ms. Miller to remain in jail until Oct. 28, when the term of the grand jury would expire and the investigation would presumably end. Mr. Bennett thought that was a bad strategy; he argued that Mr. Fitzgerald would 'almost certainly' empanel a new grand jury."
-- "Ms. Miller said, 'I owed it to myself ...'"
-- "Ms. Miller said she was persuaded. 'I mean, it's like the tone of the voice,' she said."
-- "Her paramount concern was how her actions would be viewed by her colleagues."
-- "On Sept. 29, Ms. Miller was released from jail and whisked by Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Keller to the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown for a massage, a manicure, a martini and a steak dinner."
-- "At a gathering in the newsroom, she made a speech claiming victories for press freedom. Her colleagues responded with restrained applause, seemingly as mystified by the outcome of her case as the public."
Bottom line: This was a fight they didn't have to fight but fought because Judy wanted to fight. ... We're closer to an answer to the question: Is she a flake or a lying flake? See 'denied it' above. But we're not quite there yet. ... FYI: I'm now wondering if the rethinking
of my earlier thinking
on the case was accurate. It sure the hell seems like the Times was trying to redeem itself by backing Judy to the hilt -- or at least regain some of its MSM elite luster after all its own recent controversies. If so, the move just backfired. ... FYI II: I still don't think Miller should have been jailed. Even if a person has a martyr complex, the government shouldn't be encouraged to oblige his or her whim -- sort of akin to not giving in to Klinger's cross-dressing M*A*S*H antics.Update
have their takes (with an extra Jay Rosen note in Dan's comments section at bottom). ... P.S. Mark
has more too. ... A lot of attention is being paid to A.) Judy's mysterious new source and memory lapse. B.) She may have had some sort of security clearance. I kind of missed those angles amid all the other angles. Still the portrait painted of her is that of an newsroom employee leaving a trail of trouble wherever she goes. ... The evidence also points to White House complicity in the illegal leaking. Don't lose track of that. ... Enough. I've written more than I thought I ever would or should on this subject.